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Abraham Lincoln 
Quotations & Sayings 

Spurious 



Spurious, Hearsay, and 
Obscure Quotations 

Compilation & Commentary 



Excerpts from newspapers and other sources 

From the files of the 
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection 





Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation ------ Dr. Louia A. Warren, Editor, 

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana 



Number 552 



FORT WAYNE, INDIANA 



November 6, 1939 



SOURCES OF TRADITIONAL QUOTATIONS 



The question of authenticity is constantly being raised 
■with reference to certain quotations credited to Abraham 
Lincoln but which cannot be found over his signature. 
Sources of six of the statements most often mentioned 
follow: 

Study and Get Ready 

Miss Anna O'Flynn of Vincennes, Indiana, interviewed 
in 1895 Mrs. Elizabeth Crawford who is said to have re- 
called the following conversation with Abraham Lincoln 
when he was but a youth: 

Mrs. Crawford — "What do you want to be?" 

Lincoln— "I'll be President 1" 

Mrs. Crawford — "You'd make a purty President with all 
your tricks and jokes, now wouldn't you?" 

Lincoln— "Oh, I'll study and get ready, and then the 
chance will come." 

Miss O'Flynn's manuscript containing the interview was 
made available to Miss Ijla M. Tarbell who used the story 
on page 62 of her Early*Life of Abraham Lincoln which 
was published in 1896. Uf course sixty-five years is a long 
time to remember a conversation, and, while the gist of it 
may have been recalled] by Miss Crawford, one would 
hesitate to identify the quotation in question as a verbatim 
statement of Abraham 1-i.incoln. 



£elig ion 



A eulogy on Abraham Lincoln delivered before the Gen- 
eral Assembly of Connecticut on Thursday, June 8, 1865, 
contains a brief statement about Lincoln's religious faith 
which is often quoted though its origin is seldom cited. 
The speaker on this occasion was Henry C. Deming. a 
lawyer, a member of Cojngress from Connecticut, and a 
close friend of Lincoln. 5 

In the course of his Address Mr. Deming said: "I am 
here reminded of an impressive remark, which he (Lin- 
coln) made to me upon another occasion and •which I shall 
never forget. He said, ha had never united himself to any 
church, because he founid difficulty in giving his assent, 
without mental reservation, to the long complicated state- 
ments of Christian doctrine, which characterize their Ar- 
ticles of belief and Confessions of Faith. 'When any 
church,' he continued, 'will inscribe over its altar, as its 
sole qualification for membership the Saviour's condensed 
statement of the substance of both law and Gospel, "Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as 
thyself I" that church will I join with all my heart and all 
my soul'." 

Fooling the People 

No quotation credited to Abraham Lincoln has been 
more generally accepted as genuine, yet without documen- 
tary support, than the following lines: 

"You can fool all the people some of the time 

And some of the people all the time 

But you cannot fool all the people all of the time." 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1905 interviewed many 
people who claimed to have heard Lincoln repeat the 
memorable triplet, and, with hardly any exception, the 
concensus of opinion was that it was used in an ad- 
dress which Lincoln made at Clinton, Illinois, in 1858, yet 
it is not found in any of Lincoln's printed speeches. One 
affiant testified that the statement referred to fooling 
the people on the slavery issue and recalled the very 
place it occurred in Lincoln's address, 3 : > 



Sabbath Day 

A New York Sabbath Committee called on President 
Lincoln during the Civil War, and one of the members 
some time later reported that Lincoln used the following 
language: 

"As we keep or break the Sabbath Day we nobly save 
or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises." 

Lincoln delivered his second Annual Message to Con- 
gress on December 1, 1862, and in the course of his re- 
marks he spoke of freedom for both the slave and the free 
jj and then concluded, "We shall nobly save or meanly lose 
. the last, best hope of earth." 

It would appear that the alleged statement Lincoln is 
said to have made about the Sabbath Day has been qon- 
fused with this more famous authentic quotation. 

The Crisis 

By far the widest circulated spurious Lincoln quotation 
appears to have been printed first in a book entitled 
A Gold Conspiracy, which was distributed by the £ro- 
gressive American Publishing Company of New York in 
1896 and written by Captain Stephen Nicolette. On page 
33 are found these wqrds alleged to have been spoken* By 
Lincoln when the war: was nearing its end: I 

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that im- 
nerves me and causes jme to tremble for the safety of |ny 
country. As a result of the war corporations have been 
enthroned and an era; of corruption in high places will 
follow and the money power of the country will endeavor 
to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the 
people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and 
the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more 
anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, 
even in the midst of wfr. God grant that my suspicion may 
prove groundless." I 

This quotation has' found its way into numerous trab- 
lications and it appears in The Congressional Record for 
Tuesday, December 15, 1931, in a speech delivered by Rep- 
resentative Louis T. M'Fadden 0 f Pennsylvania. Mri M'- 
f adden, however, wa$ under the impression that the ex- 
cerpt was from a letter Lincoln wrote to a man by the 
name of Elkins, yet there is no evidence that Lincoln ever 
wrote or spoke the words, referring to the crisis. 

Prohibition 

Whenever the prohibition question is brought to the 
front the following statement said to have been made by 
Lincoln is often quoted: 

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of 
temperance. It is a species of intemperance itself for it 
goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to 
control man's appetite by legislation in making crimes 
out of things that are not crimes. A prohibitory law strikes 
a blow at the very principles on which our government 
was founded. I have always been found laboring to pro- 
tect the weaker classes from the stronger and I can never 
give my consent to such a law as you propose to enact. 
Until my tongue be silenced in death I will continue to 
fight for the rights of man," 

Atlanta, Georgia, was in the midst of a local option 
campaign in 1887, and the alleged Lincoln statement above 
was widely circulated in the campaign. 

Some time after the excitement of the campaign had 
disappeared, Colonel Samuel W. Small was told by Col- 
onel John B. Goodwin, who had been the director of the 
Anti-Prohibition forces, that he himself composed the al- 
leged words of Lincoln to influence the colored voters to 
vote the wet ticket. 




Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation ----- Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor 
Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana 



Number 750 



FORT WAYNE, INDIANA 



August 23, 1943 



DID LINCOLN SAY IT? 



One of the most certain proofs of the immor- 
tality of a man is the tendency to emphasize the 
importance of the epigrams he used. The anthol- 
ogy of Lincoln's pointed sayings, approaches in 
wisdom, the proverbs of Solomon, and they have 
contributed immeasurably to the fame of the 
prairie philosopher. It is not known, generally, 
that the writings and printed speeches of Abra- 
ham Lincoln, in total wordage exceed the complete 
works of Shakespeare. 

Another element which confirms the eternal 
fame of a man is the tendency to put in his month, 
as it were, words presenting some certain phi- 
losophy of life which the ghost writer desires to 
advance. We are now in that stage of the Lincoln 
apotheosis when a great mass of spurious quota- 
tions are being credited to Lincoln which he never 
recited. 

The first Lincoln token which the editor of 
Lincoln Lore can remember receiving, and which 
he now cherishes with much satisfaction, is a 
motto post card sent to him while in college by his 
mother. This is the epigram on the card : 

Success 
By Abraham Lincoln 
To a Young Man 

"There is no success save it be self -wrought — 
Your employer will generally reward those who 
generously labor for him — Those who are kind, 
charitable and just will inspire a return of love 
and gratitude — It is a fact that 'Like begets like,' 
and that if we desire from our fellows the rewards 
of the world, sacrifices must be made, or we shall 
neither merit nor receive them." 
Copyrighted by R. L. Welles, 1907. 

Apparently the quotation is spurious and 
while Lincoln's famous statement on the same 
subject — "Success does not so much depend on 
external help as on self reliance" — is quite famil- 
iar, the origin of the postal motto, if it be gen- 
uine, through all these years has remained un- 
identified. 

There is still another classification of remarks 
credited to Abraham Lincoln which are nothing 
more or less than propaganda, and these appear 
periodically when any important political or social 
question is discussed. The latest contribution in 
this field is a quotation about Lincoln's attitude 
toward labor, which seems to have been coined for 
the present labor and management controversy. 

From four widely separated sources there has 
come to the Foundation, queries about the authen- 
ticity of the following statement, alleged to have 
been made by Abraham Lincoln. 

"All that serves labor serves the Nation. All ^ 
that harms labor is treason to America. No line 



can be drawn between these two. If any man tells 
you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. 
If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears 
labor, he is a fool. There is no America without 
labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other." 

The earliest record of this quotation, thus far 
traced, appeared in The Country Parson, a Geor- 
gia paper and according to the contributor the 
words were spoken by Lincoln on October 1, 1854. 

A query about the authenticity of this quota- 
tion was sent to American Notes and Queries, by 
George Seldes, in his memorandum appearing in 
the October 1842 issue of that publication. 

The quotation is often found in an abbreviated 
form with these two sentences omitted, "No line 
can be drawn between these two," and the con- 
cluding phrase, "and to fleece the one is to rob the 
other." The word "helps," used twice in the first 
sentence, seems to be interchangeable with 
"serves." 

October 1, 1854, came on a Sunday, and there 
is no record of any speech Lincoln made on that 
day. It is likely he was in Springfield or en route 
to Springfield from Metamora, 111. The state 
fair was about to open in the capital city and on 
Tuesday Lincoln was in attendance. 

While Lincoln held both labor and capital as 
invaluable to the American system, it is rather 
doubtful if he used such expressions as "liars" 
and "fools," in referring to classes or groups of 
citizens. 

While we are on the question of spurious Lin- 
coln writings, perhaps some of the readers of 
Lincoln Lore would be willing to submit chapter 
and verse for the following alleged quotations by 
the Emancipator, all of which appear in print and 
some of them in conspicuous places. 



"Teach economy. That is one of the first and 
highest virtues. It begins with saving money." 



"The next fight will be between Capital and 
Labor, and Labor would have to carry the yoke." 



"I don't know who my grandfather was, and I 
am much more concerned to know what his grand- 
son will be." 



"I believe a man should be proud of the city in 
which he lives, and that he should so live that his 
city will be proud that he lives in it." 



"If ever this free people — if this government 
itself is ever utterly demoralized, it will come 
from this incessant human wriggle and struggle 
for office, which is but a way to live without 
work." 



Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation ------ Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor 

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana 



Number 1057 



FORT WAYNE, INDIANA 



July 11, 1949 



SPURIOUS, HEARSAY AND OBSCURE LINCOLN QUOTATIONS 



The compilation of Lincoln's correspondence, writings 
and recorded speeches, which represents a total wordage 
greater than the complete works of Shakespeare, or even 
the Bible, is so voluminous that no exhaustive concord- 
ance of them ever has been published. A laborious task 
confronts one who attempts to locate the time and place 
when a particular Lincoln axiom or phrase was first used. 

Supplementing this large collection of documentary 
data is an almost unlimited source of hearsay quotations 
credited to Lincoln, which are scattered through all types 
of literature from notable biographies to comic maga- 
zines. This classification which will always be looked 
upon with suspicion by objective historians, contains 
statements said to have been made by Lincoln. Many of 
them were not recorded verbatim at the time they were 
supposed to have been spoken, so this classification leads 
one into the field of folklore and tradition. It contains, 
very naturally, a tremendous amount of source material 
which has been woven into the Lincoln story. Here again 
Lincoln's style of expression must be weighed and the 
time and place element given serious consideration before 
it is even admitted as a hearsay item. 

Quotations, supposed to have been used by Lincoln, 
which come to the Foundation for verification and identi- 
fication are first checked against an extensive card index 
of timely excerpts from authentic sources. If the staff is 
unable to discover the origin of the excerpt in these files, 
a similar catalogue of sayings credited to Lincoln is ap- 
proached. If still unsuccessful in locating the phrase, the 
statement is checked against a file labeled "obscure." 
Here it rests until such a time as further investigation 
indicates whether it should be added to one of the two 
above classifications or be labeled "doubtful." 

References thus held in suspense are then classified 
with respect to their probable origin by attempting to 
decipher the objective which motivated them. There are 
four main divisions of this series. One compilation sug- 
gests that the author was trying to recall an actual 
statement of Lincoln's with the result that a "para- 
phrase" quotation is submitted. Other aphorisms imply 
that a person has attempted to put in his own words a 
"sentiment" Lincoln is known to have held. A third group 
of papers suggest that some one has credited an axiom 
to Lincoln because the quotation sounded like Lincoln's 
"diction." Still another collection of axioms indicate that 
they are "spurious," created and issued for any one of a 
dozen or more propaganda purposes. 

First lines of as many examples as room will permit 
are submitted at the close of paragraphs emphasizing 
these four groups. The references which accompany them 
suggest where they may be found, or where their gen- 
uineness has been questioned. The Foundation would be 
pleased to hear from any one who can supply evidence 
which would support their authenticity. 

PARAPHRASE 

Most of the paraphrase quotations are found in the 
statements Lincoln is alleged to have made with possibly 
part of the quotation being genuine. This is well illus- 
trated by the many different versions we find of some 
Lincoln axiom attempting to repeat a Lincoln quotation, 
without referreing to the original statement. 

"There is an important service in which the govern- 
ment is distinct from the administration. . . ." 

Sat. Eve. Post 10-25-41 

"Money is the creature of Law. . . ." 

Conquest of Poverty by McGeer. p. 186. 



SENTIMENNT 

Some of the most famous of the Lincoln sayings which 
have become so well known to students of the Emancipa- 
tor, for lack of an immediate recording, fall into this 
classification. Only two of this vast number of alleged 
Lincoln remarks on which more supporting evidence is 
desired are presented here. 

"If I ever get a chance to hit that thing (slavery) 
I'll hit it hard." 

Herndon & Weik, p. 64. 
"I will get ready and study and then the chance will 
come." 

Tarbell, Early Life of A braham Lincoln, p. 62. 
DICTION 

There are a great many quotations credited to Lincoln 
merely because they seem to be couched in Lincoln's pe- 
culiar way of putting things. Any trite saying that has 
a Lincolnesque style of expression would probably be 
credited to the martyred President. 

"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he 
lives. . . ." 

— Quotation on wall of Museum of the City of New York. 

"I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. . . ." 
— Advertisement, Michigan Mutual Liability Company, 
Detroit. 

"Teach economy, that is one of the first virtues. It be- 
gins with saving money." 

— Publication, Fidelity Investment Association, Wheeling, 
W. Va. 

"A lawyer's time and advice are his stock in trade." 
— Plaquqe by the Allen Smith Co., Indianapolis. 

SPURIOUS 

When a man achieves the honorable position in the 
world order that Lincoln has attained, any statement he 
has made on any controversial subject becomes import- 
ant. Many of these spurious writings are deliberately 
penned for the purpose of giving emphasis to viewpoints 
among political, social, economic and reform groups. 
(See the forged Lincoln letter used to influence Woodrow 
Wilson. Lincoln Lore No. 615). 

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that 
unnerves me. . . ." 

— American Prophetic League, Inc., Release No. 19. 

"All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms 
labor is treason. . . ." 

Lincoln Lore, No. 750. 

"If you purchase a ton of steel rails from Eng- 
land. . . ." 

Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 1921. 

"Prohibition will work a great injury to the cause of 
temperance." 

Lincoln Lore, No. 552. 




Bulletin of the Lincoln National Life Foundation ------ Dr. Louis A. Warren, Editor 

Published each week by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana 



Number 1085 



FORT WAYNE, INDIANA 



January 23, 1950 



AXIOMS CREDITED TO LINCOLN, UNAUTHENTIC 



During the past year or more there has been used in 
several trade journals a series of sayings arranged in 
antithesis which have been credited erroneously to Abra- 
ham Lincoln. On February 2, 1949 they appeared in 
The Congressional Record and later on they were sep- 
arately printed. A full page display in Look magazine for 
January 17, 1950, featured the somewhat revised Con- 
gressional version which promises a much wider distri- 
bution and therefore should be given some notice in 
Lincoln Lore. 

The ten axioms were first released in 1942 by The 
Committee for Constitutional Government at New York. 
The secretary of the committee writes that the sayings 
were worked up by the committee "out of material and 
suggestions that came to it from its own advisers and 
from the outside." He further continues, "We do not 
attribute them to Lincoln." The axioms were first printed 
in a leaflet containing some authentic words of Lincoln 
on one side and on the other side the ten axioms under 
the caption: "The Ten Points— They Cost So Little." 
An editor copying the data for his magazine inadvertently 
inserted a credit line to Abraham Lincoln — a case of 
mistaken authorship. 

About the only instance where one of the "cannot" 
axioms approaches a similar wording to one of Lincoln's 
actual sayings is found in point ten. On July 1, 1854, 
Lincoln wrote, "In all that the people can individually 
do for themselves, government ought not to interfere." 

In order that this bulletin may do something more 
than call attention to the error in authorship made in- 
advertently, we are submitting in bold type, under each 
of the axioms prepared by the Committee for Constitu- 
tional Government, genuine statements of Abraham 
Lincoln properly authenticated which do at least carry 
the sentiments expressed by the widely circulated axioms. 

1. You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift. 
"Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; 

it is a positive good in the world. That some should be 
rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is 
just encouragement to industry and enterprise." 

Washington, March 21, 1864 

2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening 
the strong. 

"We proposed to give all a chance, and we expected 
the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant wiser, and all 
better and happier together." 

Springfield, Fragment, July 1, 1854. 

"Capital has its rights, which are as worthy as any 
other rights." 

Washington, Message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861 

3. You cannot help small men by tearing down big 
men. 

"Let not him who is houseless pull down the house 
of another, but let him work diligently and build one 
for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall 
be safe from violence when built." 

Washington, March 21, 1864. 

"There is no permanent class of hired laborers amongst 
us. . . . The hired laborer of yesterday labors on his own 
account today and will hire others to labor for him 
tomorrow." 

Springfield, Fragment, July 1, 1854. 

4. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. 
"It is best for all to leave each man free to acquire 

property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I 
don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting 
rich, it would do more harm than good. So while we do 
not propose any war on capital, we do wish to allow 



the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with 
everybody else." 

New Haven, Conn., March 6, 1860. 
"Men who are industrious and sober and honest in the 
pursuit of their own interests should after a while ac- 
cumulate capital and after that should be allowed to 
enjoy it in peace." 

Cincinnati, Sept. 7, 1859. 

5. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down 
the wage-payer. 

"If they (industrious, sober and honest men) should 
choose, when they have accumulated it, (capital) to use 
it to save themselves from actual labor, and hire other 
people to labor for them, is right." 

Cincinnati, Sept. 17, 1859. 

"The results of a year or two's labor is a surplus of 
capital ... in course of time he has enough capital to 
hire some new beginner." 

Cincinnati, Sept. 17, 1859. 

6. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more 
than your income. 

"No country can sustain in idleness more than a small 
percentage of its members." 

Milwaukee, Sept. 30, 1859. 

"Universal idleness would speedily result in universal 
ruin." 

Springfield, Dec. 1, 1846. 
"You do not work much merely because it does not 
seem to you that you could get much for it. This habit 
of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty." 

Letter to John J. Johnston, Jan. 2, 1851. 

7. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by 
inciting class hatred. 

"Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and 
the other man, this race and that race and the other 
race being in favor . . . and unite as one people through- 
out the land." 

Chicago, July 10, 1858. 
"We feel that all legal distinction between individuals 
of the same community founded on any such circum- 
stance as color, origin, and the like are hostile to the 
genius of our institutions and incompatible with the true 
history of American liberty." 

Cincinnati, May 31, 1841. 

8. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed 
money. 

"An individual who undertakes to live by borrowing 
soon finds his original means devoured by interest and 
next, no one left to borrow from, so it must be with a 
government." 

Whig Circular, March 4, 1843. 

9. You cannot build character and courage by taking 
away man's initiative and independence. 

"That each one of you through this free government 
which we enjoyed have an open field and a fair chance 
for your industry, enterprise and intelligence." 

Washington, Aug. 22, 1864. 

"We must inquire what it is that has given us so 
much prosperity . . . This cause is, that every man can 
make himself." 

Kalamazoo, Mich., Aug. 27, 1856. 

10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for 
them what they could and should do for themselves. 

"The legitimate object of government is to do for the 
people what needs to be done but which they cannot, 
by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for them- 
selves." 

Springfield, Fragment, July 1, 1854. 



- 



Strictly personal 

How to put 




By Sydney J. Harris 

My recent column on that fake 
Lincoln quotation brought a lot 
of letters from readers, some 
of whom were quick to point 
Out that Lincoln did express 
"similar sentinients'' on 
various occasions, and that the 
fake quote was really a "com- 
pendium" of his ideas. 

But this is precisely the evil 
of taking statements out of 
context and making a synthetic 
fabric out of individual 
strands. Lincoln said many 
things on many subjects, and 
unless we study the whole body 
of his written and spoken 
words, in the full progression 
of his time, we are doing him 
an* injustice and violating 
historical truth. 

AS AN EASY example, I can 
right this minute compose a 
mosaic of Lincoln sayings thai 
would highly commend him to 
the Communist Party and 
make him out to be a full- 
fledged radical, simply by 
ignoring everything he said on 
the other side of the ques- 
tion: 

"These capitalists generally 
act harmoniously, and in con- 
cert, to fleece the people." 
(Speech, Illinois Legislature, 
January, 1837.) 

"Any people anywhere being 
inclined and having the power, 
have the right to rise up and 
shake off the existing govern- 



CHICAGO DAILY NEWS, Tuesday, March 18, 1303 



Harris Lincoln 



ment, and form a new one that 
suits them better. This is a 
most valuable, a most sacred 
right." (Speech, House of Re- 
presentatives, 3818.) 

"If by the mere force of 
numbers a majority should 
deprive a minority of any 
clearly written constitutional 
rights, it might, in a moral 
point of view, justify revolu- 
tion—certainly would if such a 
right were a vital one." (First 
Inaugural Address, March 4, 
1861.) 

"This country, with its 
institutions, belongs to the peo- 
ple who inhabit it. Whenever 
they shall grow weary of the 
existing government, they i an 
exercise their constitutional 
right of amending it, or their 
revolutionary right to disme '■ru- 
ber or overthrow it." (Ibid.) 

"Labor is prior to and in- 
dependent of capital. Capita] is 
only the fruit of labor, and 
could never have existed if 
labor had not first existed. 
Labor is the superior of 
capital, and man deserves 
much the higher considera- 
tion." (Message to Congress, 
Dec. 3, 1861.) 

"1 know the trials and woes 
of working men, and I have al- 
ways felt, for them. I know that 
in almost every case of 
strikes, the men have a just 
cause for complaint." (To 
a delegation from the Ma- 
chinists' and Blacksmiths' 
Union, 1863.) 

"Whenever there is a conflict 
between human rights and pro- 
perty rights, human rights 
must prevail." (Congressional 
Record, quoted, May 12, 19-11.) 

I can give you any Lincoln 
you want— pro-labor, pro capi- 
tal, pro-Negro, anti-Negro— -if 
only you and me select parts 
; from the whole. 




in the two major indices to Lincoln's writings: Harnsberger, and Archer H. 
Shaw's The Lincoln Encyclopedia (Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 1950). 

"I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My 
mind is like a piece of steel..." 

You cite this as having been recalled by William H. Herndon. I skimmed his 
Life of Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln , but did not see it in either book. 
Gross uses this quotation (p. 19) and dates it as c. 1860. 

"I have no policy. I pass my life in preventing the storm from blowing 
down the tent, and I drive in the pegs as fast as they are pulled up." 



You cite this as coming from Hertz's Lincoln Talks . It is attributed to 
Prince de Joinville. De Joinville is probably describing a private 
conversation with Lincoln because Basler does not include any Lincoln 
writings to de Joinville, who was an artist from France working in the 
United States during the war. 

"Moral principle is a looser bond than pecuniary interest." 



I could not find this quotation in any of our quotation indices and it is 
probably not a direct quotation. You cite it as a speech in October of 
1-856. Basler does not include any direct quotations of Lincoln's speeches 
in October, 1856, although he includes some newspaper reports of them, and 
this quotation does not appear in any of Basler 's reports. If you have 
access to a University library, you might try to get copies of the 
newspapers published in the towns where he spoke. For instance, he spoke in 

Peoria, 111. on October 17, 1856 try Peoria Weekly Republican . He was in 

Belleville, 111. on October 22 try Belleville Weekly Advocate . On October 

27 he was in Pike County Illinois, but I don't have a newspaper title for 
that area. 



"Well, you have got a good case in technical law, but a pretty bad one 
in equity and justice. You'll have to get some other fellow ./yiA 



I could not find a source for this quotation in any of our indices (other 
than the one you give: recalled by John H. Littlefield in Lincoln Talks . p. 



to win this case for you. I couldn't do it. All the time while standing 
talking to that jury I'd be thinking: "Lincoln, you're a liar," and I 
believe I should forget myself and say it outloud. 



recalled by John H. Littlefield 

Lincoln Talks , p 54. 



1 



54). Basler does not have any Lincoln writings to Littlef ield . Further, I 
could not find any biographic information on Littlefield. 

kk-k 

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to 
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. I must stand with 
anybody ..." 

Dr. Louis A. Warren researched this quotation and did not find it anywhere 
in Lincoln's writings. He speculated that it might be a garbled quotation 
of Lincoln's October 16, 1854 speech in Peoria. In that speech he said "I 
say, stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right 
and part with him when he goes wrong." (Basler, II, p. 273). 

*** 

"whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, 
human rights must prevail." 

I could not find this quotation in any of our quotation indices. I also 
skimmed through the Congressional Record you cited, to no avail. 

-k-kk 

"If we should all be turned out tomorrow, and could come back here in a 
week, we should find our places filled by a lot of fellows doing just as 
well as we did. . . " 



This is from L. E. Chittendon's Recollections of President Lincoln and His 
Administration (New York: Harper and Bro . , 1891) p. 377. You date the 
remark as June 29, 1864. 

kkk 

"As labor is the common burthen of our race, so the effort of some to 
shift their share of the burthen on to the shoulders of others is the great, 
durable, curse of the race." 



Note: your source was slightly inaccurate in its quotation. I have quoted 
it correctly above. This quotation is from an undated fragment of a speech. 
Basler dates it as September 17, 1859 (Basler, III, p. 462). Earlier, in 
John G. Nicolay and John Hay's Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln (New York: 
Tandy-Thomas, 1894, v. II, p. 185), it was dated July 1, 1854. 



kXk 



54). Basler does not have any Lincoln writings to Littlefield. Further, I 
could not find any biographic information on Littlefield. 

•k~k-k 

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to 
succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. I must stand with 
anybody ..." 

Dr. Louis A. Warren researched this quotation and did not find it anywhere 
in Lincoln's writings. He speculated that it might be a garbled quotation 
of Lincoln's October 16, 1854 speech in Peoria. In that speech he said "I 
say, stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right 
and part with him when he goes wrong." (Basler, II, p. 273). 

•k-k-k 

"Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, 
human rights must prevail." in ^ Cov,yessS°»«J faced /fay ,z y rfvy 

I could not find this quotation in any of our quotation indices. I also 
skimmed through the Congressional Record you cited, to no avail. 

-k-k-k 

"If we should all be turned out tomorrow, and could come back here in a 
week, we should find our places filled by a lot of fellows doing just as 
well as we did ..." 

This is from L. E. Chittendon's Recollections of President Lincoln and His 
Administration (New York: Harper and Bro . , 1891) p. 377. You date the 
remark as June 29, 1864. 

•k-k~k 

"As labor is the common burthen of our race, so the effort of some to 
shift their share of the burthen on to the shoulders of others is the great, 
durable, curse of the race." 

Note: your source was slightly inaccurate in its quotation. I have quoted 
it correctly above. This quotation is from an undated fragment of a speech. 
Basler dates it as September 17, 1859 (Basler, III, p. 462). Earlier, in 
John G. Nicolay and John Hay's Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln (New York: 
Tandy-Thomas, 1894, v. II, p. 185), it was dated July 1, 1854. 



•k-k-k 



( &LAj 



~>c>riA. - ' 



"Sitting here, where all the avenues to public patronage seem to come 
together in a knot', it does seem to me that our people are fast approaching 
the point where it can be said..." 

I was not able to find this in any of our quotation indices. Further, I 
went though all of Lincoln's writings on patronage which Basler lists for 
1861 (the year you dated the remark), and did not find it. 



"This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live without 
work, will finally test the strength of our institutions." 

From Herndon's Life of Lincoln (New York: Da Capo Press, 1983, reprint) p. 
410. Presumably, Lincoln said this during the late summer of 1861, when 
Herndon visited Lincoln in Washington. 



"I know the trials and woes of working men, and 1 have always felt for 
them I know that in almost every case of strikes, the men have just cause 
for complaint." d A U « ^ ^^J'T^/S^ " 

I could not find this remark in any of our quotation indices. Further, 
Basler does not list any document written to the Machinists and Blacksmiths 
Union. In fact, there were not many major strikes in the United States 
until after the Civil War, and so it seems unlikely that Lincoln would have 
commented on strikes. 



"The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation 
should be one uniting all working people of all nations and tongues and 



kindreds . " 



Letter to New York Workingmen's Association, March 21, 1864. Basler, VII 
p. 259. 



"So I turn it over to you with full confidence that you will do what is 
just and right; only begging you, my dear General, to do nothing in reprisal 
for the past ..." 



f £yo^ ^ « 2?o„«/c< T ty;//,^ so/37 



"Sitting here, where all the avenues to public patronage seem to come 
together in a knot, it does seem to me that our people are fast approaching 
the point where it can be said^^yf* -hkat -ye^en -fL'j* i hi <?-/" V&t^m are 7Vy,v?, 
■4-c k«d hcoJ fo />V«- af -Hml, Qpp* M<-. or ^jhi/y . I > 

' - /<% i 

I was not able to find this in any of our quotation indices. Further, I 
went though all of Lincoln's writings on patronage which Basler lists for 
1861 (the year you dated the remark), and did not find it. 

■k-k-k 

"This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live without 
work, will finally test the strength of our institutions." 

From Herndon's Life of Lincoln (New York: Da Capo Press, 1983, reprint) p. 
410. Presumably, Lincoln said this during the late summer of 1861, when 
Herndon visited Lincoln in Washington. 

•k-k-k 

"I know the trials and woes of working men, and I have always felt for 
them. I know that in almost every case of strikes, the men have just cause 
for complaint . " 

I could not find this remark in any of our quotation indices. Further, 
Basler does not list any document written to the Machinists and Blacksmiths 
Union. In fact, there were not many major strikes in the United States 
until after the Civil War, and so it seems unlikely that Lincoln would have 
commented on strikes. 

-k-k-k 

"The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation 
should be one uniting all working people of all nations and tongues and 
kindreds . " 



Letter to New York Workingmen's Association, March 21, 1864. Basler, VII, 
p. 259. 

-k-k-k 

"So I turn it over to you with full confidence that you will do what is 
just and right; only begging you, my dear General, to do nothing in reprisal 
for the past ..." 



5 



"Sitting here, where all the avenues to public patronage seem to come 
together in a knot, it does seem to me that our people are fast approaching 
the point where it can be said..." 



I was not able to find this in any of our quotation indices. Further, I 
went though all of Lincoln's writings on patronage which Basler lists for 
1861 (the year you dated the remark), and did not find it. 

•kick 

"This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live without 
work, will finally test the strength of our institutions." 



From Herndon's Life of Lincoln (New York: Da Capo Press, 1983, reprint) p. 
410. Presumably, Lincoln said this during the late summer of 1861, when 
Herndon visited Lincoln in Washington. 

k-k-k 

"I know the trials and woes of working men, and I have always felt for 
them. I know that in almost every case of strikes, the men have just cause 
for complaint . " 



I could not find this remark in any of our quotation indices. Further, 
Basler does not list any document written to the Machinists and Blacksmiths 
Union. In fact, there were not many major strikes in the United States 
until after the Civil War, and so it seems unlikely that Lincoln would have 
commented on strikes. 

*** 

"The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation 
should be one uniting all working people of all nations and tongues and 
kindreds . " 

Letter to New York Workingmen's Association, March 21, 1864. Basler, VII, 
p. 259. 

•k-k-k 

"So I turn it over to you with full confidence that you will do what is 
just and right; only begging you, my dear General, to do nothing in reprisal 

for the past^^J* only what is necessary to ensure security for the future; 

and reminding you that we are not fighting against a foreign foe, but our brothers, 
and that our aim is not to break their spirits, but only to bring them back to 
their old allegiance. Conquer by kindness let that be our policy. 



I could not find this letter in any of our quotation indices, and I also 
could not find it in Basler's collected works. The only source seems to be 
Emanuel Hertz's Lincoln Talks New York: Viking Press, 1939 p. 423-425. 

-k'k'k 

"When I die, I want it said of me by those who know me best, that I 
always plucked a' thistle and planted a flower when I thought a flower would 
grow. " 



This is a spurious quotation. 

•kick 

"With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can 
succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he 
enacts statutes or pronounces decisions." 



From the debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Ottawa on August 21, 1858. 
Basler, III, p. 27. 

k-k-k 

"I am for the people of the whole nation doing just as they please in 
all matters which concern the whole nation; for that of each part doing just 
as they choose in all matters which concern no other part; and for each 
individual doing just as he chooses in all matters which concern nobody 
else. " 



From a fragment of a speech, dated October 1, 1858 by Nicolay and Hay (IV, 
p. 231). Basler does not list the speech in October, and so there must be 
questions about the dating or authenticity of this fragment. c j, 

^.v,.c, ISC' 



"No law is stronger than is the public sentiment where it is to be 
enforced. Free speech and discussion, and immunity from whip and tar and 
feathers, seem implied by the guarantee to each state of a republican form 
of government." 



This is probably a spurious quotation. Gilbert A. Tracy, in his Uncollected 
Letters of Abraham Lincoln (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1917, p. 171) 
quotes it from a pamphlet entitled "Some Lincoln Correspondence With 

Southern Leaders " However, the pamphlet itself was based on a "copy" of 

a Lincoln letter, and Basler does not include the letter in his Collected 
Works . 



"NICE GUYS 

FINISH 
SEVENTH" 



FALSE PHRASES, SPURIOUS SAYINGS 
AND FAMILIAR MISQUOTATIONS 



RALPH KEYES 



4u 

HarperCollins/ 3 /^/?'*/^ rs 



ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MISQUOTES 



95 



ON. NOW LET HIM EN- 

i's attitude toward an 1832 
ation of Cherokee Indians 
hat he said them, however, 
ides after Jackson's death, 
aous retort to the chief jus- 
'mer congressman told him 
> Marshall when he was in 
quotation this familiar de- 



RITY. 

reme Court in 1987, Ronald 
that one man with courage 
that courage." No reliable 
cion. In his foreword to a 
(rage, Robert Kennedy so 
\n 1888 biography quoted 
kes one a majority." This 
ancestors and relatives. An 
n Geneva credits John Knox 
the majority." Since then a 
used in that quotation: the 
s likely than anyone else to 
but we have no proof that 

jackson was the Yogi Berra 
■ remarks. A British collec- 

of New Orleans, "Elevate 
lat the descendants of Old 
nk such an uncouth barbar- 

lighted northern intellectu- 
ionorary degree by Harvard 
iy reciting the only Latin he 



knew "E pluribus unum, my friends, sine qua non." According to 
Jackson biographer John William Ward, this story was still being re- 
peated at Harvard in the 1950s. By most accounts Jackson actually 
,-eceived his degree in silence. Ward thinks the Latin parody was made 
up by detractors to ridicule the president. 

Abraham Lincoln 

Most of the presidents after Jackson were not quotable enough to be 
misquoted. Then we get to Abraham Lincoln. Even before his death in 
1865, a pertinent remark from the Great Emancipator clinched many an 
argument. Lincoln is the most misquoted president largely because he's 
the one who is most quoted. The fact that America's sixteenth president 
didn't say much of what speakers and authors want him to have said 
hasn't stopped them from quoting him anyway. During the past century- 
spurious Lincoln quotes have been used by management, labor, free 
traders, protectionists, wets, drys, and sundry others to prop up their 
causes. 

Much apocryphal Lincolniana takes the form of retroquotes. But 
even when he was alive, the president himself estimated that half of the 
anecdotes involving him were either spurious or misattr.buted. Since he 
did his own share of borrowing, misquotations fly in all directions when 
it comes to Abraham Lincoln. 

Apocryphal Lincolnisms 

YOU CAN FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME; YOU CAN 
EVEN FOOL SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME; BUT YOU CAN'T 
FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME. 

Bv tradition Lincoln made this observation on September 2 or Septem- 
ber 8 1858, in a speech at Clinton, Illinois. Other sources say he said it 
m Bloomington, Illinois on May 29, 1856. Or it might have been at some 
unknown location in 1862. Or was it 1863 in Washington? No one is 
quite sure. These words do not appear in any of Lincoln's published 
works. No newspaper account of the various speeches in which they 
might have been used report this observation. Our only evidence that 
Lincoln said you can fool all the people, etc., is the memory of those who 



96 "nice guys finish seventh" 



think they heard him say so, usually long after his death. This saying 
gained widest circulation in a 1904 book called Abe Lincoln's Yarns and 
Stories. According to its author, Pennsylvania Republican leader Alex- 
ander K. McClure, the President discussed fooling the people during a 
conversation with a visitor. Lincoln scholars don't give much credence 
to this citation or any other. 

TELL ME WHAT BRAND GRANT DRINKS. I'LL SEND A BARREL TO MY 

other generals, (wording varies) 

Th is is a favorite Lincoln chuckle, his alleged response to complaints 
that Ulysses S. Grant drank too much whiskey. Since this fanciful story 
circulated during Lincoln's lifetime, he was able to debunk it personally. 
Lincoln thought the anecdote was inspired by an earlier one in which 
George II of England said of the allegation that General James Wolfe 
was mad: "If General Wolfe is mad I hope he bites some of my other 
generals." 

(1) YOU CANNOT BRING ABOUT PROSPERITY BY DISCOURAGING 
THRIFT. (2) YOU CANNOT STRENGTHEN THE WEAK BY WEAKENING 

the strong, (etc.; 10 points defending conservative free enter- 
prise principles) 

This list of maxims is beloved by free enterprise zealots. For decades 
they plastered it on wall hangings, calendars, pamphlets, and advertise- 
ments. As recently as 1976 Tiffany's ran "Lincoln's" ten points in an ad, 
then had to take the heat when reminded that these sayings were actu- 
ally written by the Reverend William J. H. Boetcker in 1916. In this case 
we have clear evidence of how the misattribution originated. In 1942 a 
group called the Committee for Constitutional Government distributed 
a leaflet called "Lincoln on Limitations." One side had an authentic 
Lincoln remark. The other side had the ten points, attributed to the 
"Inspiration of Wm. J. H. Boetcker." In time Boetcker's name was 
forgotten and authorship of the ten points was reassigned to his better 
known leaflet-mate. When Look magazine published this apocryphal 
Lincolnism in 1950, Time took its sister publication to task. "In printing 
what Lincoln hadn't said," Time snickered, "nobody had felt the need 



ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MISQUOTES 97 



to print something that he did say, 'You can fool all the people . . . 
[etc.]." 

Lincoln's Borrowing 

GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE 

Thirty-three years before Abraham Lincoln used this phrase in his Get- 
tysburg Address, Daniel Webster spoke of "people's government, made 
for the people, made by the people and answerable to the people." In 
the 1850s, clergyman Theodore Parker used various versions of this 
credo in many anti-slavery speeches. Lincoln's law partner William 
Herndon later gave him a copy of Parker's published speeches. Accord- 
ing to Herndon, before composing his Gettysburg Address Lincoln 
marked the words "democracy is direct self-government, over all the 
people, by all the people, for all the people" in an 1858 Parker sermon. 

WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE, WITH CHARITY FOR ALL 

In his 1838 response to an invitation to attend a celebration of slavery's 
abolition in the British West Indies, John Quincy Adams wrote, "In 
charity to all mankind, bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being, 
and even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow-men, 
not knowing what they do." Lincoln said it better, but Adams said it 
first. 

HE REMINDS ME OF THE MAN WHO KILLED HIS PARENTS, THEN 
PLEADED FOR MERCY BECAUSE HE WAS AN ORPHAN. 

Lincoln is one of many to whom this quip is credited. Truman's vice 
president, Alben Barkley, also liked this simile. So did William Howard 
Taft. Leo Rosten calls it the classic definition of "chutzpah." The gag 
seems to have originated in a much longer yarn called "A Hard Case," 
which was written in the early 1860s by Lincoln's favorite humorist, 
Artemus Ward. 

"I remember a good story when I hear it," Lincoln once admitted, 
"but I never invented anything original. I am only a retail dealer." 



98 



NICE GUYS FINISH SEVENTH 



Mangled Lincolnisms 

While running for President in 1988, George Bush told an audience, "As 
Abraham Lincoln said, 'Here I stand, warts and all.' " Lincoln was full 
of physical imperfections, but no evidence exists that he made such an 
observation. More than two centuries before Lincoln's presidency, Oli- 
ver Cromwell admonished a portrait painter to "use all your skill to 
paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all 
these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, other- 
wise I will never pay a farthing for it." (William Safire got a Bush 
speechwriter to take the fall for goofing up this one.) Bush needn't have 
felt too bad. A Jimmy Carter television spot once quoted Lincoln as 
saying, "A statesman thinks of the future generations, while a politi- 
cian thinks of the coming election." This was actually said by nine- 
teenth century clergyman James Freeman Clarke. On another occasion 
a Carter speechwriter altered Lincoln's "last best hope of earth" to 
"last best hope on earth," thinking no one would notice. Someone did. 
Writer Richard Hanser, who makes a hobby of catching misquotes, 
immediately spotted the error and alerted William Safire. Ronald Rea- 
gan subsequently embellished Carter's altered version. In his own 
speeches Reagan frequently used the phrase "last best hope of man on 
earth," without mentioning either Carter or Lincoln. George Bush, in 
turn, used the phrase "last great hope of man on earth" during the 1988 
presidential campaign. 

Theodore Roosevelt 

Theodore Roosevelt was more quotable than the average president, and 
more inventive, to boot. The many phrases he contributed to our lan- 
guage include "hat in the ring," "pussyfooting," and 'lunatic fringe." 
For all of his originality, TR was no less likely than any other politician 
to requisition existing material. Long before he got credit for coining it, 
the term "weasel word," had appeared in a magazine article. "Muck- 
raker" — from Roosevelt's 1906 description of overzealous journalists as 
"raking the muck" — drew on John Bunyan's "the Man With the Muck 
Rake" in Pilgrim's Progress (1678). Thirty-five years before Roosevelt 
applied the term to journalists, an American politician had already been 
described as raking in muck. 



Roo 
Wendell 
backboi 
said, 'T 
eclair." 
saying o 
Reed. In 
bone sin 
before T 
eclairs, I 
"Garfiei 
anglewo 

Dun: 
out for a 
up durin. 
Twain cl 
During r 
people a s 

SPEAK SC 

Accordir. 
duced wh 
bly acqu 
stick — yo 
Roosevel: 
friend, he 
Carl San«. J 
American 
clearly wa 
the time ! 

Calvin Cc 

Calvin Co 
didn't say. 
something 
promote ti 
Wit and V 



• When People quoted jet-setter Helene Rochas as saying "After 
thirty, you get the face you deserve," it noted that this paraphrased an 
observation by George Orwell. On April 17, 1949, the last words written 
in Orwell's manuscript notebook were, "At fifty, everyone has the face 
he deserves." But Orwell was hardly the only one to whom this thought 
had occurred. According to Clifton Fadiman, when Lincoln was taken 
to task for turning down an older job applicant whose face put him off, 

THL UTLRARV LIN 161 

the President told a cabinet member, "Every man over forty is responsi- 
ble for his face." Others think Lincoln said this about those over thirty. 
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., said House Speaker Sam Rayburn told him this 
anecdote about Lincoln, except the cutoff was age fifty. The Viking 
Book of Aphorisms attributed "A man of fifty is responsible for his 
face" to Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. A collection of Mae 
West quotes included, "A man has more character in his face at forty 
than at twenty — he has suffered longer." In 1956 Coco Chanel was 
quoted as saying, "Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, it is 
up to you to merit the face you have at fifty." This was several years 
after Orwell's journal entry, of course, as was Albert Camus's 1960 line 
in The Fall, "Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his 
face." In his novel The American Ambassador, Ward Just wrote of a 
character, "if at forty everyone has the face he's earned . . ." 

As usual with such a quote, numbers vary in the retelling. For ready 
reference: 





FACE AT OR AFTER 






30 40 


50 


UNSPECIFIED 


Orwell 




X 




Lincoln I 


X 






Lincoln II 


X 






Lincoln III 




X 




Stanton 




X 




West 


X 






Chanel 




X 




Camus 






X 


Just 


X 






Rochas 


X 







194 



NICE GUYS FINISH SEVENTH 



misquotations have: Robert Walpole's "Every man has his price," Her- 
bert Hoover's "Prosperity is just around the corner," and Charles Col- 
son's "I'd walk over my own grandmother to get Richard Nixon 
elected." 

In some cases misquotes don't just discredit individuals but entire 
professions. When he was chief justice of the Supreme Court, Warren 
Burger noted in a libel decision, "Consideration of these issues inevita- 
bly recalls the aphorism of journalism attributed to the late Roy How- 
ard that 'too much checking on the facts has ruined many a good 
news story.' " Staff members of Indiana University's Roy Howard Me- 
morial Center could find no evidence that the late editor-in-chief of the 
Scnpps-Howard newspaper chain ever made such a comment. They let 
Burger know. In Burger's revised opinion, this saying was cited as an 
unattributed aphorism. The public deserved better fact checking from 
its chief justice. 

Checking facts doesn't just prove that many presumed quotes are 
actually misquotes. Sometimes sayings thought to be spurious prove to 
be authentic. For example: 

• Some quote mavens have concluded that Lincoln's comment 
"The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason he 
makes so many of them" is apocryphal. Such collectors usually suggest 
that this observation originated without evidence in a 1928 book on U.S. 
Presidents. Twenty years earlier, however, in 1908, that comment ap- 
peared in John Hay's published diary. Hay, Lincoln's private secretary, 
wrote on December 23, 1863: "The President to-night has a dream:— He 
was in a party of plain people, and, as it became known who he was, 
they began to comment on his appearance. One of them said: — 'He is 
a very common-looking man.' The President replied:— 'The Lord pre- 
fers common-looking people. That is the reason he makes so many of 
them.' " While not conclusive, Hay's diary entry suggests that this is a 
genuine Lincoln saying, not a spurious one. 

• For years it was taken for granted that Mark Twain said, "Every- 
body talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." 
This became one of his most repeated lines. But a new generation of 
quote sleuths traced the remark to an 1897 editorial in the Hartford 
Courant. That editorial was unsigned, its contents unattributed. The 



For the People \/qjI „ , ^ <^ u m H ^ 1^99 



A Picture is Worth a Thousand 

Words 



Those of you who were unable to 
attend the February 12 sympo- 
sium and banquet missed a 
wonderful time. C-SPAN taped the 
symposium to air the week of June 28 
as part of their Presidential Scries. The 
following pictures (this page and page 
eight) offer a brief glimpse into the 
grand banquet festivities. The 114th 
Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry 
(Reactivated) presented the colors 
while one of the Association's oldest 
members, Judge Abraham " Lincoln 
Marovitz, gave both the invocation 
and benediction. Donald R. Tracy 
presided over his first banquet as pres- 
ident of the Association. Near the end 
of the dinner, attendees were treated to 
period music by the 33rd Regiment 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry Band. 
Noted author James B. Stewart 



offered thoughtful insights into the 
Clinton presidency. Earlier that day, 
the Senate voted to acquit President 
Clinton on all articles of impeachment. 
Stewart offered some brief and appro- 
priate comments on how the country 
might begin to heal in the aftermath of 
the Senate vote. Keeping with the tra- 
dition of the Abraham Lincoln 
Association, the audience stood and 
sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic 
before taking a moment of silence to 
receive Judge Marovitz's benediction. 

Make your plans now to attend 
next year's events. The theme of the 
symposium will be "Abraham Lincoln 
Reputation," and feature Hans 
Trefousse, Bruce Tap, Bryon Andrea- 
sen with comments by John R. Sellers. 
We are privileged to have Doris Kearns 
Goodwin as the banquet speaker. 




114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Reactivated) 

Lincoln Never Said That 



The much touted "information 
revolution" has undoubtedly 
changed the way we conduct 
business and personal communication. 
It has allowed for fast access to infor- 
mation databases and the ability to 
sort through large quantities of infor- 
mation to pinpoint material of specific 
interest to us. The downside to online 



information is that the quality control 
of the database may not be consistent. 
We are all too familiar with recent 
reports about President Clinton's per- 
sonal life that appeared as a story on- 
line, repeated endlessly in newspaper 
columns, radio reports, and television 
and cable networks only to be ques- 
continued on page 7 



News of 
Members 

Iohn T. Trutter, board member, 
suffered a heart attack earlier this 
year but is recovering nicely. He 
honored by the Illinois and 
Michigan Canal Corridor Association 
for his long years of service, especially 
his recent tenure as chairman of the 
Association, with the Canal Boat 
Captain's Award. Lincoln College 
honored Cullom Davis, former presi- 
dent of the Abraham Lincoln Associ- 
ation, at its May graduation, receiving 
the honorary Doctor of Humane 
Letters. Douglas L. Wilson, board 
member, received the prestigious 
Lincoln Prize for his book, Honor's 
Voice: The Transformation of Abraham 
Lincoln. The Lincoln Prize is endowed 
by the Gilder Lehrman Foundation 
and is given annually through Gettys- 
burg College. Gordon Leidner com- 
piled a collection of Lincoln quotes 
tentatively titled, Commitment to 
Honor: A Unique Portrait of Abraham 
Lincoln in His Own Words, to be pub- 
lished by Rutledge Hill Press. Allen 
Guelzo has just completed a man- 
uscript, Redeemer President: Abraham 
Lincoln and the Ideas of Americans, that 
will be published this autumn bv 
William Eerdmans Company. 

A long time member and friend, 
Dr. Robert Jess Patton, died on 
December 7, 1998. A special profes- 
sorship is being established in his 
honor by the Memorial Medical 
Center Foundation and the Southern 
Illinois University School of Medicine. 
Memorial gifts may be sent to: The 
Robert Jess Patton Memorial Fund, 
Memorial Medical Center Foundation, 
1 Memorial Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 
62701. In early April, Vesta Angle, 
wife of the late Lincoln scholar Paul 
M. Angle, died in Chicago. Sally 
Thomas, wife of the late Lincoln 
scholar Benjamin P. Thomas, died on 
April 20 in Springfield. 

Please send member news to 
Thomas F. Schwartz, Abraham 
Lincoln Association, 1 Old State 
Capitol Plaza, Springfield, Illinois 
62701. All submissions will be edited 
to fit space limitations. 



For the People 



7 



Lincoln Never Said 
That 

continued from page 5 
tioned later. Some were demonstrated 
to be all too true while many others 
were simply idle gossip. The question 
becomes: "What can you trust to be 
true online?" 

Senator Trent Lott appeared on 
Meet the Press, March 22, 1998, and 
proudly quoted Abraham Lincoln to 
make his point: "I'm a firm believer in 
the people. If given the truth, the peo- 
ple can be depended upon to meet any 
national crisis. The great point is to 
bring them the real facts." Fine senti- 
ments indeed. But did Lincoln make 
such a statement? Lott's staff obtained 
the quote from a Lexus/Nexus search. 
It appeared on the database twenty- 
eight times and in each instance 
attributed the words to Lincoln. A 
search of Lincoln's own words, how- 
ever, failed to locate any of the three 
sentences. 

Lincoln used the word "firm" 
eighty-five times in his writings, the 
word "people" 2,292 times, and the 
word "believer" two times. Yet there 
are no instances where the words 
"firm," "believer," and "people" appear 
in close proximitv in any of Lincoln's 
writings. When matches occurred 
with other key words in Lincoln's 
writings such as "great" (1,751 times) 
and "point" (1,049 times), the phrase 
"great point" appeared only eight 



times. In all instances, none match or 
come close to the meaning expressed 
in the alleged quote. 

If these words are not found in 
Lincoln's letters and writings, couldn't 
they be words attributed to him by 
others? The answer is obviously yes. 
But attributions pose their own set of 
difficulties. First, the only authorita- 




tive and reliable reference source for 
Lincoln attributions is Don Fehren- 
bacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher, 
Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln, 
and Paul M. Zall, Abe Lincoln 
Laughing. Zall keeps his focus limited 
to the jokes and funny stories told by 
Lincoln, whereas the Fehrenbachers 
cast a wider net. The Fehrenbachers 
provide evaluations of every attribu- 
tion, providing the reader with an 



informed judgment about the quotes' 
authenticity. Most of the quotes in the 
volume, however, receive a C grade 
indicating that the words were record- 
ed well after the actual date Lincoln 
allegedly uttered them. The other lim- 
itation of the volume is that it covers 
only those attributions that are most 
frequently cited in historical studies. 
The acaial number of recollections and 
recorded interviews containing Lin- 
coln attributions well exceeds those in 
the Fehrenbacher and Zall compila- 
tions. 

Even if all the attributions could 
be collected onto a database, to what 
extent are they reflections of Lincoln's 
philosophy? This is a major problem 
with recollected materials. The 
Fehrenbachers offer a thorough and 
thoughtful overview of the problems 
inherent in using attributions: "The 
distinction between direct and indirect 
discourse is useful in the case of con- 
temporaneously recorded quotations 
because the one may well be verbatim 
recall or something close to it, while 
the other may well be nothing more 
than paraphrase or summary. But in 
the case of quotations recorded non- 
comtemporaneously the distinction is 
less appropriate because verbatim 
recall is much less likely, and the 
employment of direct discourse may 
well be mis representative." 

In comparing the Lincoln attribu- 
tion cited by Senator Lott off 
continued on next page 



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Please enroll me as a member of the 
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category indicated: 

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continued from previous page 
Lexus/Nexus to the Fehrenbachers 
compilation, nothing matches. Rev- 
erend Edward N. Kirk offers the clos- 
est match when he claimed that 
Lincoln told him, "I have faith in the 
people. They will not consent to dis- 
union. The danger is, they are misled. 
Let them know the truth, and the 



Vol , A No, *Z. 

county is safe" (Fehrenbacher, p. 278). 
Kirk recalled Lincoln saying this to 
him in July, 1864, and recounted these 
words to the Boston Journal, reprinted 
in the Liberator, May 19, 1865. When 
added to other expressions in the inter- 
view, such as Lincoln's fear for the 
country's future and premonitions of 



death that would prevent him from 
seeing a successful end to the war, the 
Fehrnbachers concluded that this 'like 
all such talk, recalled after the assassi- 
nation, should probably be viewed 
with a certain amount of skepticism." 
They assigned Kirk's recollections the 
grade of D. 





For the People 

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Allen County Public Library 
General Reference Center Gold 



U.S. News & World Report, Feb 17, 1997 vl22 n6 p62(2) 

Looking for Lincoln: historians sort through the words others put in his mouth. 

(Abraham Lincoln; includes related excerpt) Lewis Lord. 

Abstract: Pres Lincoln has had more quotes attributed to him than any other American, but as 
historians have discovered, many are unreliable. Recent books by P M Zall, Gabor Boritt and Don and 
Virginia Fehrenbacher sort through supposed Lincoln sayings and separate the authentic from the 
dubious. 

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1997 U.S. News and World Report Inc. 

Every schoolchild knows the Abraham Lincoln that's revered on Presidents' Day with solemn speeches 
and earnest editorials. He's the martyr who freed the slaves and saved the republic. Less familiar is the 
lusty Lincoln, the frontier hero that ordinary folk cherished a century or more ago in an extensive cycle 
of uninhibited stories. Like the tale that began with a barge ramming a railroad bridge: 

The railroad sued, and its team of high-powered lawyers gave the jury convincing evidence the barge 
owner was at fault. Then rose Lincoln, the barge owner's sole attorney. "My learned opponents have 
presented an impressive case," he said. "There is no question that they have their facts absolutely right. 
But they have drawn completely wrong conclusions." The jurors inexplicably broke into laughter, 
headed for the jury room, and came back with a verdict for Lincoln's client. 

The stunned losers approached the triumphant Lincoln. "What did you do to the jury?" the lawyers 
asked. 

"Well, boys," Lincoln replied. "When the court adjourned for lunch, I happened into a saloon where the 
jurors were eating and told them a little story. A story about a farmer who was working in his barnyard 
one day when his 10-year-old boy came rushing up to him, all excited. 'Pa,' said the boy, 'come quick. 
The hired man and Sis are up in the haymow, and he's a-pulling down his pants and she's a-liftin' up her 
skirt. Pa, they're gettin' ready to pee all over our hay.' 'Son,' said the farmer, 'you've got your facts 
absolutely right, but you've drawn a completely wrong conclusion.' " 

Plausible. Ray Allen Billington, the late historian, repeated the haymow story in the foreword of P.M. 
Zall's Abe Lincoln Laughing: Humorous Anecdotes from Original Sources by and about Abraham 
Lincoln (University of Tennessee Press, 1995, $14). "That anecdote has the ring of a perfect Abraham 
Lincoln story," Billington wrote. "It is plausible, appealing, earthy, and just the sort of thing that he 
might have said." But it's not among the 325 "reliable" Lincoln anecdotes in Zall's book. The scholar 
searched but found no evidence that the scene ever happened. Hence it and many other dubious Lincoln 
stories were left out. 

What Zall did with the plethora of Lincoln anecdotes-include and evaluate the apparently authentic, 
delete the seemingly apocryphal-other historians are doing with collections of his words. Their task is 
daunting: No American is more quoted-or misquoted-than Lincoln. Their work also is important: The 
image of Lincoln, the historical as well as the mythical, has been shaped to an uncommon degree by 



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6/23/00 4:09 PM 



Article 4 . http://web4.infotrac.galegroup.eom/itw/i.. .A 191 34679&dyn=13!ar_fmt?sw_aep=acpl main 

statements that other people put in his mouth, often to suit their own purposes. 

Stanford's Don Fehrenbacher and his wife, Virginia, spent 12 years compiling the Recollected Words of 
Abraham Lincoln (Stanford University Press, 1996, $60), a collection of 1,900 quotations attributed to 
Lincoln by more than 500 of his contemporaries. The scholars rated the authenticity of quotations with 
letter grades: A for a direct quote the listener wrote down soon after hearing it; B for a quickly recorded 
indirect quote; C for quotes reported weeks, months, or years later; D for one "about whose authenticity 
there is more than average doubt"; E for those "probably not authentic." 

No fooling. One now familiar line the Fehrenbachers examined was far from familiar to 19th-century 
America: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you 
can't fool all the people all of the time." The saying apparently first emerged in print in 1901 in 
Lincoln's Yarns and Stories; the book identified the person who allegedly heard Lincoln as "a caller at 
the White House." Years later, two old-timers claimed they had heard Lincoln say it in an 1856 address 
in Illinois, but a news account of the speech didn't mention it. The Fehrenbachers give the old-timers' 
recollections a D. The evidence, the scholars say, "suggests that this is a case of reminiscence echoing 
folklore or fiction." 

A D also goes to a boyhood Lincolnism that was recalled by Abe's cousin Dennis Hanks: "Denny, the 
things I want to know is in books. My best friend's the man who'll get me one." (Hanks, unreliable at 
any age, remembered this at 90.) And strong doubts are cast on an acquaintance's claim that Lincoln, as 
president-elect, spoke longingly of courting Ann Rutledge. "I did honestly and truly love the girl," 
Lincoln allegedly said, "and think often, often of her now." (Close friends never recalled such talk.) 

The Fehrenbachers apply their lowest grade to words a spiritualist attributed to Lincoln in seances. 
(Evidence he attended any is weak.) Another E is given to ex-priest Charles Chiniquy's claim that 
Lincoln said Jefferson Davis and the pope were allies. (Chiniquy, the scholars say, was "perhaps the 
biggest liar in Lincoln literature.") Also dismissed is an official's recollection that Lincoln said he 
wanted to "remove the whole colored race of the slave states into Texas." (There's no evidence of such a 
scheme.) 

Lincolnisms without an identifiable source are deemed so spurious that the Fehrenbachers don't even try 
to rate them. No one, for example, seems to know who, if anyone, heard Lincoln say, "The best thing 
about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." Or "Tact [is] the ability to describe others as 
they see themselves." Or "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all 
doubt." 

And then there is the clearly bogus, like "Lincoln's Ten Cannots," including: "You cannot strengthen the 
weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You 
cannot help the poor by destroying the rich." In 1950, historians first showed the cannots to be the 1916 
creation of a Pennsylvania preacher. Still, a 1991 Ann Landers column and a 1992 speech by Ronald 
Reagan to the GOP national convention gave Lincoln the credit. 

How can a reader avoid the dubious? Collections of Lincoln's writings, including a two-volume edition 
that Don Fehrenbacher compiled for the Library of America, are as reliable as they are rich. A new book 
edited by Gettysburg College's Gabor Boritt, Of the People, By the People, For the People (Columbia 
University Press, 1996, $20), gathers short quotes solely from Lincoln's writings, his speeches, or 
reliable news reports. Boritt's volume forgoes a dubious Lincolnism on lying~"No man has a good 
enough memory to make a successful liar"— for a real one: A lie is "a specious and fantastic arrangement 
of words, by which a man can prove a horse chestnut to be a chestnut horse." Also included are 



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Lincoln's pithy depictions of the U.S. Navy: "Uncle Sam's web-feet" ... an obese woman: "a fair match 
for Falstaff ... the press: "those villainous reporters." 

The mix of fact and fiction that now envelops the great man's name could be aptly described in another 
of Boritt's Lincolnisms: "So hard is it to have a thing understood as it really is." 

Mag.Coll.: 87L0399 

Bus.Coll.: 100T1436 

Article A19134679 

Copyright © 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. 
Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company. 



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Abraham Lincoln Never Said That 



Page 1 of 4 





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NEVER SAID .. 

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Lincoln Never Said That 

By Thomas F. Schwartz, Ph.D. 

Anyone who has glanced at a cereal box, herbal tea package, inspirational book, or 
restaurant place mat has probably encountered a Lincoln quotation that rings hollow. 
Lincoln is often quoted and misquoted by public officials and celebrities. Members of 
Congress have access to researchers at the Library of Congress to keep right with 
Lincoln's words. But even this resource cannot keep spurious Lincoln's quotations from 
being uttered by members of Congress. 



MAGAZINE 
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The authoritative reference work of Lincoln's letters and speeches is the Collected 
Works of Abraham Lincoln, compiled and published by the Abraham Lincoln 
Association. Fast approaching its golden anniversary, the Collected Works reflects both 
the strengths and weaknesses of documentary editing in its infancy. While new Lincoln 
documents have been discovered, there has never been a serious attempt to locate all 
the letters written to Lincoln. Moreover, technology now allows for placing a color image 
of the original documents on a database with the transcriptions, allowing for a 
comparison of the original text with the transcribed text. All of these features will 
comprise a new more comprehensive and authoritative edition, The Papers of Abraham 
Lincoln, being undertaken by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 

One might well ask, "What difference does it make if he did or didn't say this?" It makes 
a big difference to researchers trying to understand the past. Separating authentic 
words, reflecting a historical actor's thinking on a topic, from inauthentic or attributed 
words, reflecting the thinking of someone other than the historical actor, is significant in 
obtaining a clear understanding of the past. Many of the spurious quotations are so 
modern in tone and character that most people will recognize that the words were 
devised to express and plead a special cause or interest. The idea of enlisting famous 
and admired historical actors from the past to advance a modern agenda is familiar. In 
tracking down when certain statements appeared, one can often tie it to a modern 
controversy or debate. 



A greater problem is dealing with attributions. Individuals recollecting Lincoln's exact 
words began to appear immediately following his death. Perhaps the most accessible 
source of these recollected statements is found in Carl Sandburg's six-volume 
biography of Abraham Lincoln. Recollected words cannot be dismissed out of hand 
because most of the informants knew Lincoln or are part of an oral tradition going back 
to Lincoln. Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher's Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln 
(Stanford, 1996) offer the most extensive and informed discussion of the promise, 
problems and pitfalls in using recollections. 



Finally, this list is only a beginning. It is incomplete and will be updated. Some of the 
items listed have a link to a more thorough discussion of the origins and evolution of the 
quote. 



1 . Allegedly written to Thomas Elkins on November 21 , 1 864: 



"We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war, which has cost a vast 
http://vNrww.alincoln-library.com/Apps/learn/NeverSaid.asp 2/3/2003 



Abraham Lincoln Never Said That Page 2 of 4 

treasure of blood and money, is almost over. But I see in the future a crisis 
approaching which fills me with anxiety. As a result of the war, corporations have 
become enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow. The 
money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its rule by preying upon the 
prejudice of the people, until all wealth is concentrated in a few hands, and the 
republic destroyed. I feel at this time more anxiety for the future of my country 
than at any time in the past, even in the midst of war." 

2. Quoted by Senator Trent Lott on Meet the Press, March 22, 1998 

"I'm a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, the people can be depended 
upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts." 

3. Allegedly written to Colonel Edmund "Dick" Taylor sometime in December, 1864: 

"I have long determined to make public the origins of the greenback and tell the 
world that it is one of Dick Taylor's creations. You had always been friendly to 
me, and when troublous times fell on us, and my shoulders, though broad and 
willing, were weak, and myself surrounded by such circumstances and such 
people that I knew not whom to trust, then I said in my extremity, 'I will send for 
Col. Taylor; he will know what to do.' I think it was in January 1862, on or about 
the 16 th , that I did so. You came, and I said to you, 'What can we do?' Said you, 
'Why, issue Treasury notes bearing no interest, printed on the best banking 
paper. Issue enough to pay off the Army expenses, and declare it legal tender.' 
Chase thought it a hazardous thing, but we finally accomplished it, and gave to 
the people of this Republic the greatest blessing they ever had-their own paper 
to pay their own debts, and I take great pleasure in making it known. How many 
times have I laughed at you telling me plainly that I was too lazy to be anything 
but a lawyer." 

4. A popular undated letter found on internet sites that allegedly was written to the 
headmaster of a school in which one of Lincoln's sons was studying: 

"My son will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not 
true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every 
selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy 
there is a friend. 

It will take time, I know; but teach him if you can, that a dollar earned is of far 
more value than five found. 

Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning, steer him away from 
envy, if you can. 

Teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that bullies are 
easiest to lick. 

Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books... but also give him quiet time to 
ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a 
green hillside. 

In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat... 
[Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are 
wrong.] 

Teach him to be gentle with [gentle] people and tough with the tough. 

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is 
getting on the bandwagon. 

Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all he hears on a 
screen of truth and take only the good that comes through. 

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad. 

Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to be 
beware of too much sweetness. 

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders, but never to put 
a price on his heart and soul. 

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob... and to stand and fight if he 

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Abraham Lincoln Never Said That Page 3 of 4 

thinks he's right. 

Treat him gently; but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes 
fine steel. 

Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patience to be 
brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in humankind. 

This is a big order, but see what you can do. He is such a fine little fellow my 
son!" 

5. Allegedly uttered by Lincoln although the occasion and the informant source 
remain undetermined: 

"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live in 
it so that his place will be proud of him." 

6. The "Ten Points" appear every February 12 in newspaper ads honoring Abraham 
Lincoln. In fact, these aphorisms are from the pen of Reverend William John 
Henry Boetcker (1873-1962). 

• You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. 

• You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. 

• You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. 

• You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. 

• You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. 

• You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. 

• You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. 

• You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money. 

• You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative 
and independence. 

• You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and 
should do for themselves. 



7. Unknown source: 



"Well, for those who like that sort of thing, I should think it is just about the sort of 
thing they would like." 

8. Cited by Douglas MacArthur in 1950 speech after his release as commander of 
the United Nations forces in Korea. It is actually from a poem by Ella Wheeler 
Wilcox: 

" To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men." 

9. Attributed to Lincoln in a Lutheran temperance pamphlet circa 1948. It is actually 
from a temperance address of the Reverend James Smith, Abraham Lincoln's 
friend and minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois. 

"The liquor traffic is a cancer in society, eating out its vitals and threatening 
destruction, and all attempts to regulate it will aggravate the evil. There must be 
no attempt to regulate the cancer; it must be eradicated, not a root must be left 
behind, for until this is done, all classes must continue in danger of becoming 
victims of strong drink." 

1 0. Undoubtedly the most famous questioned utterance of Abraham Lincoln 
allegedly part of a speech delivered in Clinton, Illinois, September, 1858: 

"You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the 
time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." 



http://www.alincoln-libraiy.com/Apps/learn/NeverSaid.asp 



2/3/2003 



Monday, December 1 , 2003 ♦ 



m 

The Journal Gazette 3A 



Historian gets honest about Abe 



By John O'Connor 

Associated Press 

SPRINGFIELD. III. - When it 
comes to Abraham Lincoln, some of 
the people are fooled all of the lime. 

Remarks attributed to the quot- 
able 16th president have popped up 
in everything from TV commercials 
to speeches by famous generals, 
presidents and even recent anti-war 
protesters. 

Too often, they are phrases that 
Lincoln never uttered, experts at 
the Illinois His- 
toric Preserva- 
| tion Agency say. 
"It's simply 
Lincoln's own 
status as a cul- 
tural exemplar 
that make these 
spurious quota- 
tions seem cred- 
ible," said Rod- 
ney Davis, co- 
director of the 
Lincoln Studies 
Center at Knox 




Lincoln 



College in Galesburg. 

"He seems to provide validation 
for just about anything anybody 
wants to have validated, and if you 
can't find a Lincoln quote, you 
make one up." 

Quotes by a minister, a poet and 
even an actor portraying Lincoln on 
an episode of "Star Trek" have 
been attributed to the president, ac- 
cording to Illinois state historian 
Thomas Schwartz. 

The preservation agency has add- 
ed a page to its Web site that ex- 
poses famous sayings Lincoln never 
made. 

Among the more famous is this 
one: "You can fool all the people 
some of the time and some of the 
people all of the time, but you can- 
not fool all of the people all of the 
time." 

Allegedly part of a September 
1858 speech in Clinton, the sentence 
does not show up in the text printed 
in the local newspaper, Schwartz 

Tests link 
2 of 11 




[Ylisattributed to Lincoln 



These are some of the phrases frequently - and wrongly - 
attributed to Abraham Lincoln, according to Illinois state his- 
torian Thomas Schwartz: 

"Corporations have become enthroned, and an era of cor- 
ruption in high places will follow . . . until all wealth is concen- 
trated in a few hands, and the republic destroyed." 

Allegedly from a November 1864 letter. Lincoln's son, Rob- 
ert Todd Lincoln, has traced this quote to a seance in Iowa in 
which Lincoln supposedly spoke through a "medium. " 

"There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. 
There's nothing good in war except its ending." 

Attributed to Lincoln by anti-war protesters earlier this year, 
the statement was made by an actor portraying Lincoln in an 
episode of "Star Trek. " 

"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. 
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You can- 
not help the poor by destroying the rich." 

Three of the famous "Ten Cannots" with which Lincoln is 
wrongly credited, including by former President Reagan at the 
1992 Republican National Convention. They were written by a 
minister in 1916. 

"The strength of the nation lies in the homes of its people." 

Widely quoted on homebuilders' and real estate Web sites, 
the closest utterance resembling it is in an August 1928 speech 
by President Hoover: "The foundation of American life rests 
upon the home and the family. " 

"To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cow- 
ards of men." 

Cited by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in a speech after he was 
relieved of duty in Korea, it is from a poem by Ella Wheeler Wil- 
cox. 

- The Associated Press 



said. The best evidence comes from 
two people in 19 10 recollecting that 
Lincoln said it in 1 856. 

Davis hopes the Web site, which 
also highlights fake Lincoln docu- 
ments, will remind people "that 
there is such a thing as intellectual 
or scholarly honesty." 



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Lincoln may have said a 
lot, bust he didn't say it all 

4; SPRINGFIELD, 111. (AP) — When it 
comes to Abraham Lincoln, some of 
the" people are fooled all of the time. 

Remarks attributed to the quotable 16th 
president have popped up in everything 
from television commercials to speeches 
by famous generals, presidents and even re- 
cent antiwar protesters. 

Too often, they are phrases that Lin- 
coln never uttered, experts at the Illinois 
Historic Preservation Agency say. 

It's simply Lincoln's own status as a cul- 
tural exemplar that make these spurious 
quotations seem credible," said Rodney 
Davis, co-director of the Lincoln Studies 
Center at Knox College in Galesburg. 

"He seems to provide validation for just 
about anything anybody wants to have val- 
idated, and if you cant find a Lincoln quote, 
you make one up." 



Quotes by a minister, a poet and even an 
actor portraying Lincoln on an episode of 
"Star Trek" have been attributed to the 
president, according to Illinois state histo- 
rian Thomas Schwartz 

The preservation agency has added a 
page to its Web site that exposes famous 
sayings Lincoln never made. Among them: 

♦ 'To sin by silence, when they should 
protest, makes cowards of men." 

♦ There's no honorable way to kill, no 
gentle way to destroy. There's nothing good 
in war except its ending." 

♦ "The strength of the nation lies in the 
homes of its people." 

And then there's this one: 'You can fool 
all the people some of the time and some of 
the people all of the time, but you cannot 
fool all of the people all of the time." 

Allegedly part of a September 1858 
speech in Clinton, the sentence does not 
show up in the text printed in the local 
newspaper, Schwartz said. The best evi- 
dence available comes from two people in 



On the Net 

Lincoln facsimiles and misnomers: 
www.illinoishistory.gov/facsimiles.htm 

fin * I'lTj&C £^cks£-^y 

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: 
www.hti.umich.edu/l/lincoln/ 

1910 recollecting that Lincoln said it in 
1856. 

Davis hopes the Web site, which also 
highlights fake Lincoln documents, will re- 
mind people "that there is such a thing as 
intellectual or scholarly honesty." 

"And these are standards that need to 
be adhered to," he said. 



President Lincoln 
never said many of 
the quotes that peo- 
ple attribute to him. 

By Knight Ridder Tribune 



Honest, Mr. President: Abe Never Said It : NPR 



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125 169095 



Honest, Mr. President: Abe Never Said It 



by JOHN J PITNEY JR. 




March 25, 2010 



text size A A A 



John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor 
of American politics at Claremont McKenna 
College. With Joseph M. Bessette, he is the author 
of American Government and Politics: Deliberation, 
Democracy, and Citizenship. 

In his remarks to Democratic lawmakers the day 
before they passed the health care bill, President 
Obama said: "I was tooling through some of the 
writings of some previous presidents, and I came 
Enlarge Jim watsorVAFP/Getty upon this quote by Abraham Lincoln: 'I am not 

In a recent speech to House Democrats. President Obama bound to win, but I'm bound to be true. I'm not 
used an Abraham Lincoln quotation ... that Lincoln never bound to succeed, but I'm bound to live up to what 

actually said. Though the mistake has been made several ^ . { | ^ ave . 

times by past presidents, commentator John J. Pitney Jr. 
says such misquotes shouldn't go unnoticed 

The Lincoln quotation was stirring. It was also 
bogus. There is no documentary evidence that Lincoln ever said any such thing. 

Obama is hardly the first speaker to pass counterfeit prose. A couple of entertaining reference books — 
They Never Said It by Paul Boiler and John George, and The Quote Vehfier by Ralph Keyes — are full of 
fake quotations and mis-attributions that have come into common usage The process starts when an 
honest mistake or flight of fancy leads to the publication of a spurious passage. Seeing it in print, writers 
and speakers assume it to be genuine and repeat it. Then they copy one another, and the dubious words 
spread like a computer virus. 

It is understandable that many of these cases involve Lincoln. By quoting the Great Emancipator's words, 
public figures try to capture some of his magic for themselves. The temptation to touch the hem of his 
garment is so great that they sometimes get sloppy about fact-checking and grab for a knockoff. 

That temptation crosses partisan and ideological lines. President Reagan used the "bound to be true" line 
several times (One may guess that President Obama's speechwriter got it from a Reagan speech and 
incorrectly took it for granted that the Gipper's staff had sourced it.) After his presidency, at the 1992 
Republican convention, Reagan quoted this favorite of anti-tax groups: "You cannot strengthen the weak by 
weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help 
the poor man by destroying the rich." Lincoln never used those words They came from William Boetcker, a 
prominent minister of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Boetcker did not credit Lincoln with the lines, 
but some of his conservative admirers did. 




Courtesy of John J Pitney. Jr 
John J. Pitney. Jr. is a 
professor of American 
Politics at Claremont 
McKenna College He is the 
co-author of American 
Government Deliberation, 
Democracy, and 
Citizenship. 



Liberals like to cite this faux Lincoln passage: "Corporations have been 
enthroned. An era of corruption will follow and the money power of the country 
will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people 
until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed." It 
has been in circulation ever since Populists concocted it in the late 1800s 
Lincoln's personal secretary called it a "bald, unblushing forgery," and indeed it 
would have been inconsistent with Lincoln's career. As a lawyer in Illinois, 
Lincoln represented corporations in court and even did a bit of lobbying. 
Nevertheless, actor Warren Beatty deployed the quotation against special 
interests in a 1999 speech to the Southern California Americans for Democratic 
Action, as did journalist Joe Conason in It Can Happen Here and former vice 
president Al Gore in the hardcover version of The Assault on Reason. 



Sometimes politicians quote Lincoln as a proud demonstration of their own 
humility. "As Abraham Lincoln said," asserted Vice President George H.W. 
Bush in 1988, "Here I stand — warts and all." Instead of Lincoln's own 
language, that line was a mashup of phrases usually attributed to other 
historical figures: "Here I stand" (Martin Luther) and "warts and all" (Oliver 
Cromwell). As Wlliam Safire explained at the time, there is even some doubt that Luther and Cromwell 
uttered those exact words. 

Obama may have been aiming for the same level of modesty when he quoted the line about being bound 
neither to win nor succeed. But the first-person singular undercut the effect: He said "I" five times in two 
sentences. 

Accuracy is important, and we should take note when presidents use fake quotations. In the end, though, 
we may be confident that the truth will come out. As President Clinton put it in 1994: "The greatest 



1 of 3 



3/26/2010 9:58 AM 



Honest, Mr. President: Abe Never Said It : NPR 



http://www.npr. org/templates/story/story.php?stor>Id= 125 169095 



Republican president — some of us think the greatest president we ever had — Mr. Lincoln, once said that 
you can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you 
cannot fool all of the people all the time." 

Then again, Lincoln didn't say that, either. 



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Freddie Coots (fredpet) wrote 

Thank you, Patrick; I did a quick search and found somebody else making the same complaint: 

"John Pitney. Professor at Claremont McKenna College, on whose word a good deal of this 
article's credibility seems to hinge, is not fully credentialed Let me clarify: he is a former 
Republican apparatchik, specifically, according to his CV, he was a senior domestic policy 
analyst for the House Republican Research Committee, responsible for background papers 
and public statements on a variety of domestic and economic issues A bit later in his career, 
he was acting Research Department Director of the Republican National Committee My 
experience with his past partisan quotes is that he is an expert at smoothly modulating his 
statements so that they do not seem partisan, but ALWAYS indicate Republican triumph, and it 
is shoddy journalism, of the kind that I don't expect from Adam Nagourney, that Pitney is 
quoted in this article without a reasonable description of his bias." 
http 7/politicalmavens com/index php/201 0/03/1 8/its-nice-to-be-proved-right/ 

(This is from his own site, he's being cocky about predicting that Barbara Boxer will have a 
tough time.) 



I am sad to hear that Lincoln didn't really say that last line -( 
Friday, March 26, 2010 3:02 56 AM 
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Report abuse 




Patrick Gorey (pgorey) wrote: 

It would be nice if the author disclosed his past close association with the Republican National 
Committee as a speech writer or as a staff member working with Dick Cheney Not really the 
unbiased fair and balanced educational opinion I'd hope NPR would promote. 
Thursday, March 25, 2010 11:03:02 PM 

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Kludge McGee (rogue_opulence) wrote 
You Lie 1 - Joe Wilson 
Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:08:07 PM 
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Report abuse 




Marcus Chandler (Marcopolis) wrote 

"But the first-person singular undercut the effect: He said "I" five times in two sentences " 



He seems to have a habit of doing that. 
Thursday, March 25. 2010 8:35 32 PM 
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Matthew Scallon (MatthewCScallon) wrote 

@kate_is_great, be grateful I'm pro-life Otherwise, I might feel the same way about you 
Thursday, March 25, 2010 7:42:01 PM 

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Stephen Linton (Stepton) wrote 



2 of 3 



3/26/2010 9:58 AM 



http://www.palmbeachpostxom/news/news/national-qov 

Allen West's new book dotted with familiar, but fake, quotes... 

Updated: 2:58 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2014 \ Posted: 

2:50p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2014 palmbeachpost.com 



Former Rep. Allen West outlines his political philosophy, warrior code and 
experiences as a black conservative in a new book that's peppered with quotations 
attributed to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other 
famous figures. 

Several of the quotes in West's "Guardian of the Republic" — including one that's 
also been used by President Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain — have a 
familiar ring from frequent repetition, but have been flagged by historians as 
erroneous. 

"Thomas Jefferson said it first: 'A government big enough to give you everything 
you want is also big enough to take it away,'" West writes. 



The quotation doesn't appear in Jefferson's writings, according to researchers at 
the Charlottesville, Va.-based Thomas Jefferson Foundation. But variations of it have appeared on coffee mugs 
and T-shirts with Jefferson's name and have ricocheted around the Internet enough that the foundation included 
it in a "Spurious Quotations" list of popular sayings misattributed to the Declaration of Independence drafter 
and third president. 

Three other Jefferson quotes in West's book also appear on the foundation's list of debunked Jeffersonisms. 

Asked this week to provide sources for the Jefferson quotes and some others in the book, West co-author 
Michele Hickford declined comment and a spokeswoman for Crown Publishing did not respond. West, who is 
touring to promote the book, could not be reached. 

Misquoting presidents is an American tradition at least as old as Parson Weems' tale of young George 
Washington and the cherry tree and as current as Facebook posts and chain e-mails that can make inaccurate 
quotes go viral. 

Obama (as a senator in 2005) and McCain (as a 2008 presidential candidate) are among those who have quoted 
George Washington as saying that "the willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, 
no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated 
and appreciated by our nation." 

West includes that quote in his book. But the words aren't Washington's, according to Mary V. Thompson, a 
research historian with the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. 

"We get asked about that one a lot. Congressmen tend to be very fond of that one... It's been around for a long 
time, but I don't know where it came from," Thompson said. 

West's book quotes Lincoln as saying: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose 
our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." 



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Apr 03, 2014 02:57:05PM MDT 



http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/national-qovt-politics/allen-wests-new-book-dotted-with-familiar-^ 

The quote has appeared on bumper stickers and was attributed to Lincoln in the trailer for the 2013 movie 
"White House Down." But it didn't come from Lincoln, says James Cornelius, the curator of the Lincoln 
Collection at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, 111. 

"That's not an accurate one. But the spirit is right from something he said," said Cornelius. Cornelius said the 
quote cited by West and others bears some resemblance to a passage in a speech Lincoln delivered as a young 
Illinois legislator in 1838. 

"All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in 
their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or 
make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years," Lincoln said in the 1838 speech. 

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up 
amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. 
As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." 

Wesf s book quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French observer of America, as saying democracy 
"can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From 
that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public 
treasury with the result being that a democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a 
dictatorship." 

Tocqueville did see danger in big government, but the quote in West's book "certainly" is spurious, said 
Harvard historian Harvey Mansfield, who translated a 2000 edition of Tocqueville' s seminal "Democracy In 
America." 

A quote attributed to Patrick Henry in West's book didn't come from the 18th century Virginian's writings or 
speeches, said Henry biographer Thomas Kidd. 

West quotes Henry as saying: "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, 
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." 

Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas, said the quote appears to be of relatively recent vintage 
and has taken on a life of its own on the Internet. 

"The thing that's strange about that quote to me is it actually sounds like something that Henry might have 
said. . .1 find it puzzling that it keeps getting used. You can find similar things that Henry has said that are actual 
quotes," Kidd said. 

While the bogus quote bears some resemblance to Henry's actual sentiments, Kidd said the giants of American 
history deserve better. 

"If we admire these people," Kidd said, "then I think we should represent what they actually said." 



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